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Readings and News

Upcoming Events

April 24, 2014: Multimedia presentation at Rain or Shine Coffee House in Portland with Rick Lampugh. 

September 2014: All Dog Books Reading! After taking part in a multi-author event at Powell’s Books, I’ve wanted to curate an all dog book reading with a similar structure. This will be an amazing event combining Portland’s love of literature and dogs. I am in the process of getting the event endorsed by the Oregon Humane Society and plan on teaming up with other local organizations. All the presentations will be multimedia and there will be a mix of memoir, informative nonfiction, and fiction. Stay tuned for more information.

Amazon Roped Me In…

I enrolled the e-book in Kindle Select so I had to take the digital version off all the other stores. It hurt a little to take the iPad version off of iTunes. That version has the videos embedded instead of just having hyperlinks on the side of the page. I have very little time to promote this book choosing to create new material instead. A remodeling businessan in house preschool, and two kids also takes up a fair bit of my time! Just being able to give away the e-book for free on Amazon has generated enough sales for some good bourbon (ahhh…) and a handful of new reviews. I’ll call it a success.

A few screenshots of the iPad version available in a few months again on iTunes or email me… 

Hometown Reading in Naperville…

The reading in my old hometown of Naperville was a success. The event came together Chin-style. I created an event on Facebook to see how many people were interested and I explicitly wrote in the description that I was just feeling it out. Truth be told, I was wary of combining a family trip back to Chicago with book business and I considered scrapping the whole idea. Life is hectic with a preschool in the making, a remodeling business to run, a multimedia version of my book still in the works, and two boys to care for. If people were uninterested, it might have been a blessing. However, within twenty-four hours of sending out the invite, I had over twenty responses and people began telling their friends about it.

So I said to Lori, “Looks like I’m doing a reading when we go back to Chicago.”

She replied, “ Cool, where are you going to do it?”

“Don’t know…have to figure that out,” I smiled.

Everything is better with beer and whiskey so Quigley’s, an Irish bar in Naperville, was the ideal venue. I put them on the Facebook event without calling them just to complete the information portion. So to sum it up, I started organizing my hometown reading by saying I might do it at place that I hadn’t booked yet. That’s Chin-style!

About thirty to forty people showed up and I sold over twenty books including all of the hard covers I lugged back. I made enough to donate another $100 to Be The Match. It costs $100 to test a potential donor so counting the $100 from the Launch Party that I donated, that’s two potential donors that could save a life. I’ve received emails and Facebook messages from people telling me they joined Be The Match after reading my book. This gives added meaning to each sale I make.

Thank you to everyone who attended and to all those who are “sorry” for missing it, no worries! Life is busy, I’ll catch you next time.


Even though this was my third reading, this was the first time testing out my equipment for a self-contained presentation. The wireless microphone clipped to my collar wasn’t sensitive enough when I was talking over music so I had to improvise. I give you…the Fork-Microphone.

Like the book, the presentation touches on a range of emotions. I enjoy switching from talking and laughing about pets to  striking a serious tone about dealing with the loss of loved ones and how each of us can help save a life.

First reading for my Mom.

It was great to share laughs with some of my “old” boys.


3/19 Reading at Powell’s Report

I admit that seeing my book in the window at Powell’s made me all gooey. In the past five years, I have become a home owner, a father of two, an author, and a publisher and producer of a multimedia book. Crazy times.

A few more butterflies and palpitations were present compared to my launch party because this was a totally public reading and I was one of twelve authors presenting. Of course my presentation had to include video, music, and pictures so I was also nervous about my computer working with Powell’s projector. One can have two dozen cords and plugs and still not get it right.

Lori brought Jaxen, our newest nugget, and many friends were in attendance. One of the other authors was Dan Libman who happens to be an English professor at Northern Illinois University, the college where I earned my B.S. in Geology. His book, Married but Looking,  is making me laugh and his “reading” skills are top notch.

My focus was on the gang culture that I encountered in New Zealand and how I came away with a new understanding of pride and identity. However, I did manage to sneak in a quick video introduction of Big Head and Baetis, the new dog and cat in the book.

Thank you to Kevin Sampsell and Powell’s and to everyone who attended.

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You Never Know…

The Story Behind the Cover

You never know when you might use it or how you’ll use it.

Take the picture…

Write it down…

Roll the video…


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It takes billions of raindrops to form a rainbow and the work of each drop lasts only a fraction of second, for while the bow hangs in the sky the drops themselves are falling… a perfect example of collective action in nature. 


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Book Cover Shot 1

Sierra Nevadas 2002

Fresh grave site.

Shot through teary eyes and a smile.Continue Reading

Launch Party!

Without Rain There Can Be No Rainbows
A teacher’s journey to a Maori village  launched by the death of his dog.

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Autographed Copies!

When we were designing the cover of Without Rain There Can Be No Rainbows, I thought, Why waste the inside flaps on a boring author bio? I decided to make the hardcover edition of the book unique, with the inside flaps featuring a color picture gallery instead.

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The Making of the Videos

The videos presented the same challenge as the book. With over sixty hours of raw footage to work with, it was difficult to decide what to share. I began capturing the “golden moments” as soon as I returned to America. At the time I still had no idea what I would use the footage for, but I sorted the clips into a few major categories: pets, children and teaching, transformational, and lifestyle. By the time the book went to print and I was done with the twenty-four videos, I had logged and named over five hundred clips and photographs.

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Writing Process

One of the challenges of writing memoir is having too much material to work with. I needed a system to help me weave the different threads and isolated events into one cohesive story. Continue Reading